All About Olives

Sonal Ved

The quintessential Mediterranean ingredient is not only known for its taste, not only tangy and tasty, it is loaded with nutritional benefits too. We delve into its finer nuances

Throw them on your salad, chop them in your sandwiches, use them to garnish your pasta or blitz them into a dip – olive, the versatile ingredient is an urban cook’s best friend. The fruit hailing from the Mediterranean region has many uses in the kitchen and comes loaded with nutritional benefits.

To begin with, olives can broadly be divided into two categories – black and green, but give it a closer look and you will see how each dish comes sprinkled with a different variety. While the kalamata – the plump black olive; niçoise which is small, chewy and brownish and Sicilian green are the most common ones, there are others such as cerignola, gaeta, ponentine and others that are not so commonly found.

While they say all good things are fattening, olive is one exception to this adage. We say this because not only is this fruit recommended in religions scriptures, it is also promoted by nutritionist and dieticians all over the world.

From skin, hair, bones to internal organs, eating olives has a positive health benefit on every part of the body.  To begin with, olives contain high amount of phenolic antioxidants as well as the anti-cancer compounds. They are loaded with vitamin E and iron, both of which have a good impact on our immune system. Olives also have an anti-inflammatory property that helps the body with daily wear and tear.

Apart from olives per se, lots of health benefits can be extracted out of using olive oil too. Whatever your take on oil might be, you can’t get too far in a kitchen if you don’t befriend your oils. With a plethora of gourmet oils that have entered the market off late, getting confused about what’s really good for you is not an unknown dilemma. But what has stood the test of time is olive oil. Not only chefs around the world pour it generously on delicacies belonging to Italian, Spanish, Mexican, Turkish, Egyptian cuisines, it has found a spot in Indian kitchens too.

What makes olive oil so user-friendly is the fact that it has a lovely fragrance and a neutral taste that absorbs flavours well and doesn’t leave a greasy trail in the mouth. This works with dishes where the ingredients are the hero of the preparation.

What we love the most about olives is that a jar stocked in your pantry never goes unused, especially if a small get-together with your friends and family is on your mind. We share with you a recipe that will come handy when a tall order comes around.